The Dead Pool is said to be a place of punishment and sacrifice. Captives would be bound with chains and raised aloft, then lowered into the acid below. Shang Tsung was said to have favored this method of punishment over all others, and was given to those condemned by Shao Kahn himself. The acid itself is a mass of residue of past creations from Shang Tsung's flesh pits.
A 3D version of the Dead Pool appeared in Mortal Kombat: Deception. Instead of a straight walkway across the acid, players fight on a square patch of concrete in the middle of the acid. Players who are close to the edge can be knocked into the acid to perform a death trap, whereupon an "Oh" will be heard as tribute to the MKII secret. Shang Tsung watches over the arena from a balcony, dressed in his original MKII outfit.
The arena also appears in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Liu Kang and Kung Lao first enter this area after escaping the Wastelands. When players approach this arena, they are ambushed by undead bloody skeletons. They must knock the skeletons onto the hooks hanging from the ceiling to pass. In the next room, one must use the swing ability to leave the Dead Pool.
The Dead Pool can be unlocked as an arena in Versus mode. The versus mode variant of the stage has a T-shaped walkway with acid pools on both sides. The fighters can run around in the acid at the expense of health.
The Dead Pool appears in Mortal Kombat (2011). The arena returns to its original design: a single bridge that spans the pool. The chains are now manually operated, handled by two executioners using a large reel. Prisoners are bound and suspended above the acid by the hooked chains where they are promptly dipped into the acidic pool after a few moments. They are then dragged back up by their flesh and proceed to disintegrate. In Mortal Kombat (2011), when using the stage fatality, instead of falling into the acidic pool and resurfacing as a skeleton, the victim will flail around in the pool as the acid dissolves their flesh and leaves behind a face-down skeletal frame.
In the Story Mode, Sonya is held here at the start of the second tournament, with Sheeva and several guards watching her. Jax eventually defeats Sheeva to rescue her, killing one of the other guards by throwing him into the acid in the process.
The Dead Pool has two appearances in Mortal Kombat 11, the first being a cameo during Raiden's flashback sequence of past battles with Liu Kang in the Story Mode. It later returns as a proper stage in Aftermath. Though it retains the same layout as its 2011 predecessor, It has undergone a complete visual overhaul. Two massive stone statues resembling Oni Warriors are now the centerpieces of the stage, acid falls pouring over them. Several rusted metal cages, chains, and hooks are strewn about the background, some of which are still occupied with past victims. The now eroded walls and floors of the arena are coated with fleshy gunk and moss, presumably the result of many years of neglect and decay.
The soundtrack "The Dead Pool" was released in the album Mortal Kombat II: Music from the Arcade Game Soundtrack. It was composed by the Midway sound programmer Dan Forden. An extended version of the song is found in Deception.
- The Dead Pool arena is based on the Torture Chamber from Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
- Originally, artist Tony Goskie had designed several corpses for the background of the Dead Pool in Mortal Kombat II. Ultimately, they were removed. This concept would later appear in Mortal Kombat (2011).
- In MKII, holding the down button during the Stage Fatality will make the voice of Dan Forden say "Oh". The soundbite plays automatically in the death trap of Deception.
- There were a few rumors concerning the Dead Pool, which mainly involved the chains hanging from the ceiling. One such rumor was that it was possible to knock an opponent into the hooked ends, and that such chains acted as a mechanism to unlock something if body weight was applied to them. This rumor inspired the Dead Pool section of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks described above.
- Unused sprites from the arcade version of Mortal Kombat II show that, originally, the Dead Pool was to have an orange sky background behind the windows, much like the Portal and Kombat Tomb. In the SNES version of Mortal Kombat II, as well as the N64 version of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the orange sky is present.
- In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the Shao Kahn Treasures that involve fighting somebody (i.e. Chameleon) are fought in the Dead Pool stage.
- In MK 2011, ghostly screams can be faintly heard, especially if the music volume is turned down low enough.